A former ballet dancer was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband at a Florida gated community home in September.
Ashley Christina Benefield, 28, went to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday.
After a five-week investigation, sheriff’s office detectives have informed Benefield’s attorneys that they plan to charge him with second-degree murder for the Sept. 28 shooting of 59-year-old Douglas Benefield.
Authorities received a report that day of a shooting at a home in the Central Park section of Lakewood Ranch, about 80 miles south of Tampa.
Ashley Christina Benefield (left in undated file photo), 28, went to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday. Her booking picture is seen on the right
She was charged with second-degree murder in the September 28 fatal shooting of husband Douglas Benefield (above)
Ashley told investigators she shot Doug in self-defense during a “domestic argument.”
But detectives couldn’t find any evidence to back up his claims.
“These things take a little time,” Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Randy Warren said. WFLA-TV.
“We really have to look to make sure there is no evidence that she was abused and that just didn’t exist in this case.
“We’re looking for injuries, we’re looking for ripped clothes, we’re looking for any sign of a struggle, things that were inside this residence.
Investigators say there is no evidence to support Ashley’s claims that she shot her husband in self-defense
Authorities received a report Sept. 28 of a shooting at a home in the Central Park section of Lakewood Ranch, about 50 miles south of Tampa.
County court records show Ashley repeatedly filed motions accusing her husband of domestic violence, although investigators said they could not find evidence to support those claims.
“We got a warrant, we were able to get in, we were able to examine this closely.
“There was no evidence that this was an act of self-defense.”
At the time of the shooting, the couple were separated as they were in the middle of a custody battle over their two-year-old daughter.
Investigators say Ashley and Doug were the only two people in the home at the time of the shooting.
County court records show that Ashley repeatedly filed motions accusing her husband of domestic violence.
“In each of these instances, it doesn’t appear that she was abused,” Warren said.
“We found nothing there that would have caused us to arrest her husband for any of these allegations, even some involving their child.”
Doug was a Navy veteran who founded a ballet startup with his wife in Charleston, South Carolina three years ago.
Doug was CEO while Ashley took on the role of executive director.
But soon after the company was founded, it was sued by dancers and choreographers who alleged their contracts had been breached when they were fired just weeks after being hired.